To the Editors:
Having lived in Maplewood for 19 years and with three children in Maplewood Middle School and Columbia High School, I have seen too many well-intentioned, but ultimately temporary attempts to fix our challenged schools, too many examples of division in our community, and an embarrassing lack of commitment and leadership from our past superintendents.
I will be voting for Mike Laskowski and Narda Chisholm-Greene for BOE.
Mike and Narda are long-standing friends and proud graduates of CHS who share a passion to restore an atmosphere of excellence in our schools. With a total of nine children, currently in or graduated from the SOMSD, between their two families, they are acutely aware of the day-to-day needs of students in our district. Mike and Narda offer thoughtful preparation, honest answers, and the commitment to hold themselves accountable in their roles as community leaders. As BOE members, they will bring a professional, dedicated, and collaborative approach with intense focus on what is best for the education of all our children.
I’ve known Mike for six years as a selfless, hardworking, and dedicated neighbor, coach and volunteer. If you’ve listened to him, you know Mike to always be candid and forthcoming. He will never tell you what he thinks you want to hear. He speaks passionately, clearly, and in concrete terms about the pressing work ahead of us, including the crumbling infrastructure and inconsistent learning environments all too common in our schools.
Recently, I had the pleasure of getting to know Narda. I am struck by her calm, clear, and thoughtful approach to answering even the toughest questions. She responds with specific examples drawn from her personal experience in SOMSD, like noting the proven success of multi-age classes for her own children and many others.
One of the biggest responsibilities facing the new BOE is the hiring of a permanent superintendent. Mike will apply his extensive experience as an executive recruiter to ensure an objective and rigorous analysis of the credentials, character, and empathy required to meet the unique needs of our community. Narda will bring her background as a fair yet direct and competent leader, to ensure that a superintendent possesses the communication skills to lead and inspire new and existing administrators and teachers. I am confident Mike and Narda will demand a new leader with a proven record from a diverse community such as ours.
Narda Chisholm-Greene and Mike Laskowski are deeply rooted in our two towns. We are fortunate that these two longtime residents and friends are stepping up together to meet the significant challenges facing our school district. You can learn about Narda and Mike and how they will advocate for all our students at https://afasomsd.com.